Hello September, it’s so wonderful to see you! This summer (which isn’t technically over yet, but we can pretend) has been one that we’re more than ready to put behind us. Between the pandemic, the civil unrest, and the wildfires, we spent most of the month at home, doomscrolling through the horrible news on our phones. Just the two of us. No exciting vacations. No fun beer festivals. We would say it was boring, but in all honesty, boredom would have been a welcome improvement. Instead, we too often found ourselves feeling anxious, annoyed, and at times, angry. So adios, August. We are ready to put you and the summer in our rearview mirror as we hightail it to fall, and hopefully, better days.
But before we say good riddance to the season, this summer did offer us a few unexpected bright spots. Our continued Zoom happy hours with friends and family, near and far, have been fantastic. We have connected with people in a way we may never have done if not for COVID-19. Each week we would gather to talk, laugh, drink, and commiserate. What started as a fun distraction is now 24+ weeks strong. And while socializing with our friends and family is the real highlight, the calls gave us one more great gift: Beer Mail. Lots and lots of beer mail.
What Is Beer Mail?
Beer mail is exactly what it sounds like: beer that you receive through the mail or that otherwise comes right to your doorstep. You can order it yourself from an online retailer such as Tavour, or have it delivered to your doorstep each month locally from places such as Craft Alley. But if you’re fortunate enough to know people that live in great beer markets outside of your state, you can set up a beer trade. You ship them a box of your favorite local brews, and they send you back a crate of beer they curated for your enjoyment. It’s not complicated, but it sure is exciting to get a box full of craft beer delights that you can’t find locally.
Have Beer, Can’t Travel
Like many others during this pandemic, all of our 2020 travel plans were canceled. Until the pandemic changed our plans, we were supposed to take an August trip to Austin, Texas, for the 2020 Beer Now Conference. Since that couldn’t happen, several of us Beer Now alumni began to meet virtually every Saturday afternoon on Zoom. At some point during these Zoom hangouts, we decided that while sharing beers virtually was fun, sharing beers for real would be even more fun. Thus began our summer of beer mail.
Sending Colorado beer to our faraway friends has been fun and rewarding. It’s given us a great excuse to support local breweries with lots of extra purchases (and you know we grabbed some brews for ourselves, too.) Plus, it only further increases their exposure to beer lovers out of state. We’ve shipped some of Colorado’s finest brews to friends in New York, Virginia, Chicago, Florida, California, Tennessee, Illinois, Minnesota, and West Virginia. As the saying goes, it truly is better to give than to receive.
But in all honesty, the receiving part has been pretty frickin awesome, too.
Thanks to our very generous beer-loving friends, what could have been a boring summer has been a beer geek’s dream come true. We’ve received beer mail from big cities and small towns, in every time zone, all across the United States. We only need to open the refrigerator to take a virtual beercation to one of several excellent craft beer destinations, without ever actually leaving our home. We’ve discovered many new favorites that weren’t even on our radar before.
Pics or It Didn’t Happen
Below are just a few examples of the great beer we’ve enjoyed so far. We have plenty of beers still chillin’ in the fridge, with even more still on the way. You won’t find a list of favorites here, mostly because we decided enjoying them was more important than ranking them. For what it’s worth, we haven’t popped open anything that we didn’t enjoy. (Pro tip: it’s always a great idea to trade beer with friends who have great taste in beer.)
On a quick personal note, we want to send a huge THANK YOU to all of our friends who shared beers with us this summer, both locally and from afar. Even if you didn’t send beer but you hung out with us on Zoom, we truly appreciate you. You were the bright spot of our socially-distanced summer. Many thanks!
Send Your Own Beer Mail
Are you interested in setting up a few beer trades with family and friends? It’s easy! As the weather cools down and the fall beers hit the shelves nationwide, chat up your faraway friends to arrange some trades of your own. You can let them know your style preferences, or just ask them to send some of their favorites. You’re sure to get some great brews to sample on your next virtual happy hour!
Tips for Mailing Beer
- Use heavy-duty shipping containers. Ideally, use ones made specifically for beer. We like to buy boxes from Whale Pod. They come in a variety of sizes for both bottles and cans and are incredibly sturdy and well-made. (This is not a sponsored post; we just really love Whale Pod.)
- Wrap everything in a plastic bag before you put it in the box. Whale Pod sells bags, or you can use a kitchen garbage bag and some tape. We haven’t had too many leaks, but it happens. It only takes once to make you realize you shouldn’t skip this step.
- Ship during cooler weather, when possible. Excessive heat can affect the flavor of the beer. There have even been instances where cans can leak or explode if there’s still active yeast in the brew. (FWIW – this shouldn’t happen, yet it can happen, especially with heavily fruited, unpasteurized beers. Hence, tip #2 )
- Ship beer via UPS or FedEx ground. Create an online account and print your shipping label at home. Both carriers have rules that prohibit consumers from shipping alcohol, but in practice, they know it happens. Most shippers & carriers take a “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality. We’ve used both services and never had an issue.
See the Whale Pod in Action
Got six seconds? See how the Whale Pod works to secure your beer shipment in this time-lapse video, where we fill a Whale Pod with some excellent Colorado brews. The shipper we used is the Whale Pod 12 Pack Premium box & bag. FYI: Although we do not show it in this video, the box arrives flat, so you will need to assemble (fold) it before filling.
Now you know how we’ve found a way to escape the monotony of summer without much fun or adventure. We would love to hear how you’re spending your time. What new activities have you found to help you enjoy your time at home? We’re always up for suggestions. Give us your tips in the comments below. Or just say “hi” or whatever. We’re lonely.
We hope you found this article helpful or inspiring. If so, follow Bottle Makes Three on social media for even more great beer tips and to see what great beer mail favorites we’ll sample next!